Sydney magistrate unimpressed by NSW Police application to suppress FriendlyJordies videos
Source: ABC News
NSW Police have asked a court to order YouTube comedian FriendlyJordies to take down videos about a case against his producer.
The producer, Kristo Langker, is accused of stalking former NSW deputy premier, John Barilaro, and has denied any wrongdoing.
Mr Langker was arrested at his Dulwich Hill home in June following an investigation by the state’s fixated person’s unit.
Jordan Shanks, aka FriendlyJordies, has published videos on his YouTube channel about the case, including one less than 24 hours before the matter was due in court on Wednesday.
In an application to the court, NSW Police sought orders forcing Mr Shanks to remove all material associated with the case and preventing him from publishing further material until it is finalised, expected to be after May 2022.
Police Prosecutor Amin Assaad described Mr Shanks as “a gift that keeps on giving” after his most recent video, which included details about the police application.
“As of 9am it had 248,000 views,” Sergeant Assaad told the Downing Centre Local Court.
“He is interfering in the administration of justice … he’s in a position to influence witnesses.”
Sergeant Assaad suggested Mr Shanks should be found in contempt of court and claimed the issues raised in the video were “not 100 per cent correct”.
But Barrister Philip Strickland SC, for Mr Shanks, said the application was too broad and appeared to be “fundamentally defective”.
He said Mr Shanks’s video involved criticism of the involvement of the fixated persons unit, similar to legitimate questions asked by “a whole range of people”, including politicians.
“This is an attempt under the guise of the Act to shut down criticism expressed in terms, no doubt, that are regarded as unfavourable, but it’s to shut down criticism,” Mr Strickland said.
He called for the application to be dismissed, describing it as “tantamount to an abuse of process”.
Magistrate Jacqueline Milledge said worse things were said about the judiciary every day.
“I’ve never seen an application like this before in this court,” she said.
Sergeant Assaad said Mr Shanks had 570,000 followers and was commenting about the strength of the prosecution brief.
“Isn’t this giving all of that oxygen?” the magistrate replied.
Sergeant Assaad insisted Mr Shanks was “leading the charge” and said the videos had the potential to influence witnesses.
“That’s a charge? God, it’s not even a walk through the park. It’s inane,” the magistrate replied.
Magistrate Milledge adjourned the application until next week.
She said police needed to be specific about what they rely on for both the contempt and suppression issues, rather than providing “a dump of everything that’s been said on a video”.